Emy Francisco was in her first year of college when she found out she was pregnant. The father was her high school sweetheart, and they had been together for more than a year.
“It was my boyfriend’s mom who accompanied me to the doctor when we suspected that I might be pregnant,” Emy recounts. “I was living with my dad then, my mother was working abroad. When I finally told my dad, he was devastated and disappointed. It also took a while before I told my friends, and they were all concerned.”
Emy took a leave of absence from the university for one semester, while her boyfriend continued his schooling. By the time she gave birth to a daughter, Sam, in January 1995, her mother had come home from abroad so that someone could take care of the baby while Emy went back to school.
By the time Sam was 2 years, Emy had broken up with Sam's father and became a single mom. “It’s doubly harder when you have a baby at a young age because you are also still growing up as well,” Emy, who relied on her parents for emotional and financial support early on, admits. “I also had to juggle school work and caring for a baby.”
It didn't get easier when Sam became a teenager. “I began to realize what my parents went through with me when Sam got older,” Emy confessed. “Sam and I argued most of the time because we would have different views on things. It had taken a while before I figured out how to find the right balance of giving her her space, but still being the mom she needed.”
Her romantic relationships weren't smooth sailing either. In college, she got romantically involved with another classmate.
“Sam was still very young then so I never had to explain to her what ‘dating’ was,” Emy says. “Basta when my boyfriend would visit, Sam was okay with it, and they got along.”
They broke up after five years when Emy got involved with a co-worker. She describes this one as her toughest relationships. “We were always fighting, and Sam would often see me crying, so she didn’t like the guy. I spent a lot of time with him, probably too much, so I was always away from home.” Sam says. “Looking back, I could see that I was very selfish, clingy, insecure, and immature.”
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Emy met Jesmike when she was 28 years old. He was 26 and was working with an Internet solutions service provider.
“I met his officemate first, in a business meeting,” Emy recounts. “When that officemate went back to the office, he told Jesmike about the pretty, morena lady that he met. Jesmike looked me up on Friendster and found the courage to send me a private message. We started exchanging messages for awhile until eventually, he asked me out. I asked a close friend to join us on that first date. We didn't hit it off immediately, but we had succeeding dates, and these helped us to get to know each other better.”
Emy had always been upfront about her status as a single mom. “In my Friendster profile, I described myself as ‘Full-time Mom/Dad,’” she says. “In one of our dates, Jesmike asked me about Sam, and I answered all his questions. He did not seem bothered, and I never sensed any hesitation on his part. It was as if he saw something beyond my past.”
Emy and Jesmike dated for three months before they officially became a couple. “I prayed to God that He would give me the right guy,” she says. “In the end, my mind and heart synced, and I decided to take the risk with Jesmike.”
Emy also felt that she had become more mature and confident, a far cry from the needy girl before. “When Jesmike and I became a couple, the first person I told was my mom,” she shares. “I felt that I owed it to her, that I wanted to do things differently, treat it more seriously, this time.”
When asked to share some of their kilig moments as boyfriend and girlfriend Emy laughs and shakes her head. “Jesmike is not a very sweet person; he does not even give me flowers all the time. But he makes me feel special through his efforts. Every day he would pick me up from my office in Makati, bring me home to Cainta, then be on his way home to Paranaque. It’s the little sacrifices that he makes that I treasure most.” Jesmike also made an effort to bond with Sam by including her in his dinner dates with Emy.
As for Sam’s father, Emy shares that they have not talked or seen each other since the break-up. “He sent me a message on social media a few times, but I never bothered to respond. I don’t see why I still have to,” Emy says with a shrug. “By the time I was with Jesmike, Sam was already in her teens and had already become more mature. She saw what I went through with my other boyfriends, and she saw how contented and happy I was with Jesmike, so she became happy for me as well.”
After two years together, Jesmike proposed and they got married in December 2010. Sam was one of the maids-of-honor. A year later, Emy and Jesmike had a son, Asher, and two years ago, a daughter, Alisa, was added to the family.
“Sam and her siblings have a very good relationship,” Emy says proudly. “She is still living with her grandparents (Emy's parents), but every weekend, Jesmike, the kids, and I go home to Cainta, and we hang out in the house all day. Or sometimes, when I need help, she stays over at our house in Paranaque and helps me babysit the kids, or just drops by to play with them.”
She adds that Jesmike and Sam also get along well. “They talk about things that I don’t even know about, like music and movies, and they join forces when they want to make fun of me” she laughs. “Plus, they have common interests -- Jesmike graduated with a degree in Industrial Design, while Sam, now 22 years old, is taking up Interior Design.”
Life is good for this former teenage mother, who advises other girls to take their time and not get swept up in the passion of the moment.
“Enjoy every moment of being single,” she says. “Having a partner is great, but don’t go into a relationship just for the sake of having someone. The person that comes into your life shouldn’t complete your life but complement it. Secondly, listen to your parents and close friends, because they will tell you the truth. And lastly, never forget to pray—pray that God will give you the right person. The perfect guy will not have your heart leaping all the time with kilig moves, but you will know he is the right one for you because everything will fall into its proper place.”